Great Living Cincinnatians
Robert J. Kohlhepp
Awarded in 2018
If you attend a Xavier University basketball game, you’ll run across Robert J. Kohlhepp’s name. The players will be running across it, too – as the Cintas Center hardwood is now named “Kohlhepp Family Court.”
Mr. Kohlhepp already resides in the Xavier University Hall of Fame for his work to create the Sr. Rose Fleming endowment for Student-Athlete Academic Advising. The endowment is named in honor of Fleming, who for nearly three decades has served as the academic advisor for Xavier student-athletes and has guided Xavier to national recognition and success in student-athlete graduation.
Mr. Kohlhepp is a Xavier alumnus and former longtime Cintas executive. He first joined Cintas as controller in 1967. In 1979, he was appointed executive vice president and in 1984, became president and chief operating officer. In 1995, he became chief executive officer, the position he held until becoming vice chairman in 2003. He became Chairman of the Board in 2009, a position he held until his retirement in 2016.
As Mr. Kohlhepp served Cintas, he was also serving Xavier University, including nearly 30 years on Xavier's board of trustees. He chaired the University board from 2009 to 2014 and continues to chair the Xavier Athletics Leadership Advisory Committee. The Enquirer wrote in May of 2017 that “Kohlhepp's many contributions to Xavier include ‘dogged persistence’ with regard to constructing Cintas Center as well as championing Xavier's move to the Big East Conference.”
In addition to Xavier, Mr. Kohlhepp’s board service includes Cincinnati Association for the Blind, United Way of Greater Cincinnati; Parker Hannifin Corporation, Eagle Hospitality Properties Trust and Mead Paper.
Born in Covington, Mr. Kohlhepp was one of the initial board members of The Horizon Community Funds of Northern Kentucky. The newly established community-wide foundation focuses on helping break the cycle of poverty, supporting the arts, sparking development and innovation, enriching education, and improving the health and wellness of Northern Kentucky.
He has also served his community through the Talbert House Guardian Circle, the Sunflower Revolution which combats Parkinson’s Disease, Mayfield Clinic, Artswave Chair’s Circle, St. Vincent de Paul of Greater Cincinnati, Christ Hospital Foundation, Dress for Success; Hamilton County Economic Development Task Force, Cleveland Clinic Stewards Society and much more. Mr. Kohlhepp’s service has been recognized with the Beacon of Light Award from Lighthouse Youth Services and the 2000 People of Vision Award from Prevent Blindness Ohio.
He and his wife, Linda, live in Covington. Mr. Kohlhepp enjoys singing as a hobby and he performed the National Anthem at the first Xavier University basketball game at the Cintas Center. All three of his children and two of their spouses attended Xavier University.